Advocates to Harvard: We Don't Need Another Study

After receiving a large grant to study poverty and income inequality, the Hutchins Center of African and African-American Studies finds itself having to justify the need to study the problems, rather than spending that money on programs or services.

November 1, 2016, 2:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Roman Babakin / Shutterstock

Adrian Walker reports on the mixed reaction to a recent multimillion-dollar grant to fund a study into the causes of poverty and income inequality. According to Walker, the donation "was met with annoyance and consternation among some activists who argued that some of that money could be used to actually address inequality, rather than just measure it again."

"Investor Glenn Hutchins made the $10 million grant to the center that bears his name, the Hutchins Center of African and African-American Studies [at Harvard University]," according to Walker. $2 million of that total will go toward a study of poverty. Walker explains more about the proposed study:

The project is awash in boldface names: it will be directed by William Julius Wilson, a sociologist justly celebrated for his investigations of race and class. Other luminaries, like Matthew Desmond — whose recent book on housing, 'Evicted,' has made him a star — are also on board.

According to Walker, the grant will further the goals of the Hutchins Center of African and African-American Studies (led by Henry Louis Gates Jr.) to become a leading public policy institute ("like the Aspen Institute and the Brookings Institution," says Gates Jr.) on the issues of race and class.

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